What “The Real World” and 2017 Should Have in Common

Becoming an adult basically means you get trained in the art of politely bullshitting people in all aspects of your life.

“Sorry for the delay! This got lost in my spam folder!”

“I’m really sorry, I think you’re great I’m just not ready for a relationship.”

“I wish I could come but I’m not feeling well!’

Towards the latter half of 2016 I noticed a serious disconnect between my thoughts and my words and actions. I hated it. I was giving PC answers all the time.

“No worries!”

“So sorry!”

“I don’t mind!”

“Wish I could!”

But that wasn’t what I was feeling. That’s why my major resolution for 2017 is to live my life more honestly, even if it means enduring temporary awkwardness. It’s not that I was blatantly lying to people to deceive them, but I was having a hard time being open. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I didn’t want them to think less of me or make them uncomfortable on my behalf. But in my attempt to preserve others’ emotions, I wasn’t being authentic. Eventually I got tired of it.

The return to realness started when I was dating someone and realized there wasn’t a long-term future for us. I could have let it fizzle, like I had done with others in the past (I’m not proud of this, believe me) but I knew I owed him an explanation. This way he could move on and meet someone great instead of waiting for me, wondering what was happening. I’ve been ghosted enough (see two paragraphs below) to understand how it feels.

Then there was the matter of tension with a long-time friend. Rather than add a few extra emojis to my texts and try to pretend everything was okay, we got on the phone and acknowledged the elephant in the room, working towards a solution. It was stressful, but also more effective than total avoidance.

Later, a person I had been on a few dates with unceremoniously fell off the face of the earth. In my mind I wondered what had happened. My normal tendency was to stew about it inside and then move on, but I forced myself to ask the semi-awkward question. What happened? I was glad that I did: he admitted he was seeing someone else. I was angry that he had tried to just disappear, but also relieved that I had gotten clarity.

It’s safe to say that most sane people don’t enjoy confrontation. But as I’ve begun this resolution, I’ve realized it’s much less stressful to endure a few minutes of uncomfortable discussion that gets you to the heart of the matter, rather than moving through weeks or even months of confusion because neither party is sure where the other stands. Enough ghosting and white lies and secretly feeling resentful, or trying to fill in the blanks on your own. Let people know where you stand. Ask the question you keep stressing about when you’re lying in bed staring at the ceiling. It makes things so much easier.

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